tv ABC World News With Diane Sawyer ABC December 7, 2012 5:30pm-6:00pm PST
royals laughing takes a sad and startling turn. and, "a christmas story." remember the boy named ralphie, his one wish for christmas? >> no. you'll shoot your eye out. >> 30 years later, we find him. and you'll learn what he's doing to make your family smile this holiday. good evening. tonight, the supreme court of the united states says it is time to decide one of the most highly charged issues in this country. gay marriage. they have agreed to rule on the question, do same sex couples have a right to get married under the u.s. constitution? it will be a history-making decision, and surprisingly, it's an 83-year-old woman at the center of this case. and abc's expert on the supreme court, terry moran, is here right now. terry? >> reporter: well, diane, constitutionally, it doesn't get any bigger than this. the country's changed so much on this issue.
the real question is, how much? and, like so many landmark cases, as you point out, this one begins with the story of one american. this case is going to go down in history as edie windsor versus the united states. edie windsor, 83 years old, is a widow now. but she had 42 happy years with the love of her life -- thea spyer. >> she was beautiful. she was smart as hell. and she was wonderful altogether. >> reporter: edie and thea were married but when thea died in 2009, edie got socked by the irs with $363,000 in estate taxes, which no widow in a straight marriage would have to pay. today, the supreme court decided to hear edie's case challenging the law she says discriminates against couples like her and thea. the defense of marriage act, which defines marriage under federal law as the union of one man and one woman. the justices will also decide whether states have the power to ban gay marriage. and 30 states have laws that do
just that. it's been a breathtaking year of change on the issue. president obama, in a switch from 2008, announced his support for gay marriage in a may interview with abc's robin roberts. >> for me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that i think same sex couples should be able to get married. >> reporter: on election day last month, voters approved gay marriage at the ballot box for the first time, after dozens of defeats, when maine, maryland and washington state legalized it. but now, it all comes down to the nine justices of the supreme court, and they are generally conservative on social issues, though they're closely divided. for opponents of gay marriage, the very fabric of our society is at stake. >> the fundamental reason why marriage is treated as a public institution rather than a purely private relationship is because it serves the interest of society and the interest of children. >> reporter: edie windsor thinks it's simpler than all that. if you could talk to the supreme
court as they consider this case, what would you tell them? >> it's a marriage that anyone would want, okay, gay or straight. we had a wonderful life together. >> and terry, right here again. so, when will the court rule on this and do you have any sense at all which may they may go? >> reporter: so they've got two cases here, edie's and one out of california. they will argue them, hear arguments in march with a decision by the end of june. now, if i were a betting man, i'd say the court is likely to strike down that federal law, which sets the federal standard of marriage as one man, one woman, but i don't think they're going to change the laws of all the country. so, it will go back to the states. we'll have a patchwork. but that's just an informed guess. >> okay. thank you for guessing for us. and again, tell us the date when they'll decide, roughly? >> reporter: they'll decide at the end of june. >> june. okay, thank you, terry moran. and now, we want to take you to washington to update you on the fiscal cliff tonight. 25 days from now, and today, something new. president obama and speaker of
the house, john boehner, decided to take charge together. they dismissed other members of their parties, saying they will hammer it out together, try to move the deal forward. and also today, encouraging new jobs report. employers added 146,000 jobs last month, defying the predictions and the disruption of hurricane sandy. the unemployment rate fell to 7.7%, that's the lowest level in four years. but tonight, 12 million americans are still unemployed. and the new jobs number, the fiscal cliff, all of it will be on the table when george stephanopoulos sits down with a turbocharged powerhouse round table. james carville, mary matalin and nobel prize-winning economist paul krugman, on sunday for "this week." and now, we go overseas to syria, where people are fleeing amid fears that the assad regime will unleash chemical weapons. the region around the capital, damascus, now a battle zone. 2 million syrians now on the run, many of them children.
and it is extremely difficult for journalists to enter that country and cover the chaos. but abc's alex marquardt pushed across the border tonight and he is there. alex? >> reporter: we've spent the day among the thousands of refugees living here, and the conditions are miserable. rain has turned the roads to rivers of mud, there's no power or gas for heat, and it's only getting colder by the day. the rain poured as we approached the crossing into syria. the first stop, a rebel checkpoint. tanks and men armed with ak-47s. once past them, a narrow, winding road that led us to white tents in a sea of red mud. in it, the faces of this growing crisis. children huddled around the only source of warmth -- a tiny campfire. they're part of the mass exodus, families fleeing the crossfire of syria's bloody civil war. for them, life is dire and growing dangerous.
few here have their own jackets or shoes. it's growing colder by the day. there are fears the children are getting sicker. they get just one small bottle of water a day, per person. and for all 12,000 refugees, there are only four toilets, pouring into an open sewer. the risk of disease is real. abu shaki ri says they would go home, but the regime's warplanes keep bombing. in his family's tent, his cousin samira -- whose son and husband are two of the 40,000 killed -- chokes up, thinking about the future. "life will never be the same again," she says. "too much has happened." yakzan shishakly from houston, texas, manages the camp. and says they're desperate for international help. with winter coming, are you afraid you won't be able to
support all these people? >> i mean, i can say we're trying our best, but i don't think that we can support all these people. >> reporter: amid all this despair, there is dignity here and even glimpses of happiness and hope. as children sing and dream about a day with no more war. more camps are now being built here in syria and across the border in turkey, as this conflict approaches its two-year mark. there's no sign that this flood of refugees is getting up. diane? >> thank you, alex marquardt reporting in from this war-torn region. and now we move onto a tragic headline out of the uk. one of the hospital workers who was duped by australian disc jockeys into believing the queen of england was on the phone for kate middleton, has been found dead, under mysterious circumstances. and no less than scotland yard is on the case. abc's lama hasan has the details. >> reporter: for a week, king edward vii hospital has been at the center of a white hot media glare. and one day after duchess kate checked out, tragedy. >> it is with deep sadness that i can confirm the tragic death
of a member of our nursing staff, jacintha saldanha. >> reporter: it was saldanha who answered the phone on tuesday, when two australian djs impersonating the queen and prince charles, asked to speak with kate. >> hello, good morning, king edward vii hospital. >> oh, hello there, could i please speak to kate please, my granddaughter? >> oh yes, just hold on, ma'am. >> thank you. >> reporter: saldanha put them straight through to kate's private nurse, who unwittingly divulged details about her medical condition. it became a global punch line. >> an australian radio station has managed to trick the hospital. >> reporter: the whole world laughing at the duped nurses. even prince charles making light of the situation. the djs boasting of their prank. >> we were expecting to be hung up on. we didn't even know what to say when we got through. >> reporter: tonight, the hospital acknowledged the toll the prank took on the nurse who answered the phone. >> jacintha was recently the victim of a hoax call to the hospital.
the hospital had been supporting her through this very difficult time. >> reporter: this morning, jacintha saldanha was found dead just a few blocks from the hospital. scotland yard called her death unexplained, but not suspicious. she was 46 years old, married with two children. in australia, the djs have been yanked off the air until further notice, while the radio station apologized and expressed deep shock. and tonight, the palace released a statement, saying william and kate are deeply saddened by the tragedy. lama hasan, abc news, london. and now, we have pictures of a powerful earthquake off the coast of japan today, a 7.3 magnitude. in tokyo, the city shook for several minutes, and in the north, you can see offices rattled, right there. thanks to an early warning system, though, residents had six minutes to take cover, even huddling in the subway at rush hour. it's been a year and a half since a 9.0 quake and the devastating tsunami. this time, the water rose only three feet.
and tonight, we have a winner coming out of the shadows. the second person holding the winning ticket to the $587 million powerball, about to step forward to claim his fortune in arizona. abc's ron claiborne has the clues to his identity. >> over half a billion dollar jackpot. >> reporter: mystery solved. well, kind of. >> the winner has asked to remain anonymous. >> reporter: but lottery officials did release a few tantalizing details. >> he is in his 30s. he is married. and he lives in fountain hills. >> reporter: he will share half of the $587 million top prize and has opted for the lump sum payment of $192 million. that's after paying upwards of $100 million in taxes. but much remains unknown. his job. does he have children? and, of course, who is he? we know he isn't this guy, seen celebrating what he thought was the winning ticket in maryland. the other winners, cindy and mark hill, came forth publicly
just two days after the drawing. >> we're still stunned by what happened. >> reporter: the new winner may decide to reveal his identity eventually, which would allow him, if nothing else, to meet all those friends he never knew he had. ron claiborne, abc news, new york. and still ahead right here on "world news," a puppy for christmas? chris cuomo tonight on a scam that takes advantage of every child's dream. two years ago, the people of bp made a commitment to the gulf. bp has paid over twenty-three billion dollars to help those affected and to cover cleanup costs. today, the beaches and gulf are open, and many areas are reporting their best tourism seasons in years. and bp's also committed to america. we support nearly 250,000 jobs and invest more here than anywhere else. we're working to fuel america for generations to come.
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and now, "20/20" anchor chris cuomo goes into action, investigating some people who can ruin a family christmas. it is a new scam, with a new target, children who want puppies. and chris found out there are con artists stealing a lot of money. >> reporter: cole turner is a texas firefighter who was looking for a puppy for his 7-year-old little boy, ty, after their beloved dog was killed by a coyote. cole decided to go big this time. a great dane. >> so, maybe it wouldn't be such an appetizing thing to a coyote. >> reporter: turner found and online breeder, wired $600. but on the agreed-to day for delivery, no dog. and one brokenhearted boy. >> i really would like to find out who did this, who took my money? who made my son cry? >> reporter: turns out that online breeder was just a front. the turners had fallen prey to a
huge international puppy-selling scam. based in nigeria, by men like these, shot by abc news. so, we went hunting for these ba-humbug brokers and found one offering french bulldog puppies. i'd like the dog as soon as possible because i have the holidays coming up. >> reporter: the breeder gave us a contact for payment and delivery. gertrude marshall, who we tracked down. marshall had no clue she was named as a puppy perveyor. she was a victim of a scam within a scam. she had met someone online from nigeria named jimmy, fallen for him and believed she was sending wire transfers for what he said was an electronics company. >> i was gullible. i was stupid. >> reporter: so, we asked gertrude for her account information so i could get jimmy to show himself. you call him way baby, just jimmy? >> honey.
>> reporter: honey. so, open the camera, honey. finally, jimmy shows his face and he is also in for a big surprise. jimmy, why you look so surprised? you're running a scam, right jimmy? and you got caught. jimmy bails on us. yeah. and gertrude is now free from her scammer. and this christmas, ty turner has his coyote-proof pal, lou. a holiday happy ending. >> nice. big pal. >> reporter: it is. coyote-proof. wanted a bigger dog. but you know, that was also a really big gesture. in these scams, these middlemen are victims but they're the only ones that can be prosecuted because they are on american soil. so, for the family to say, in the spirit of holiday, forgiveness, and forgive, is a big deal. >> again, this is something new to us and i know chris will have a lot more reporting tonight on "20/20." it's called "holidays unplugged," and really startling new things we should all be watching out for over the holidays. thanks, chris. and coming up, the last man on the moon, he left something behind. tonight, we're going to show you what. it's in our "instant index."
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initials on a moonrock, by the way. so, tonight, up there somewhere, the initials "tdc" are looking down at all of us. and our person tonight is the name of john silva, but if the name doesn't ring a bell, the video might. o.j. simpson in the white ford bronco, chased by police on the 405 freeway in los angeles. that footage, or, even this chase today in miami, would not have been possible without silva. he was the first person to put tv cameras in a helicopter, creating a kind of tv station in the sky. and he died at the age of 92. and one more anniversary. it is our number, 71 years ago today. on this day in 1941, pearl harbor was attacked. and the greatest generation rose up to defend america's freedom in the pacific. flags were flown at half staff across the country today, to honor the more than 2,400 americans killed in the attack at pearl harbor.
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>> reporter: the movie "a christmas story" came out in 1983. few went to see it at the time, but tens of millions have been watching it ever since. a cult favorite on cable. all about a boy named ralphie and his one wish for christmas. >> there it is! the holy grail of christmas gifts. >> reporter: ralphie, so determined to get that red ryder bb gun, if only he could convince his parents. >> i want an official red ryder carbon action air rifle. oh. >> no. you'll shoot your eye out. >> reporter: 30 years later, and ralphie is still trying. this time, on broadway and backstage, we meet the boy chosen to play ralphie now. i'm guessing you're ralphie. it turns out the new ralphie grew up watching the original one. did you ever think that you'd be playing ralphie? >> no. ♪ i'll save the day the thing about ralphie is everyone remembers when they were 9, 10, my age. and when you want something for christmas, like, you do
everything to get it. >> reporter: this is what ralphie dreams of. >> yeah, what he dreams of. the red ryder carbon action bb gun. >> reporter: perfect. thank you for that. behind the scenes, a bit of a double take. look at this face, because the producer might look familiar. peter billingsley, who was the first to ask for that bb gun. >> you'll shoot your eye out, kid. >> it was one of the first real portrayals of a family that we had seen. for so many families, at the holidays, it's the simplest things that can drive you the most crazy. trying to get a tree, trying to navigate school, trying to get your son dressed just to go out in the cold. wanting of that one gift that means the world to you. the movies had a lot of significance, obviously, in my life. >> reporter: did you ever want a bb gun? >> i actually got one last year. >> reporter: did you get the actual -- >> yes. actual red ryder coarbon action bb gun. >> come back! come back! >> the bell rang.
>> reporter: the facial expressions from ralphie in that movie say it all. >> yes, the smile, everything, yes. >> reporter: do you have it? the smile? >> i think so. >> reporter: let me see. >> see the show. >> reporter: see the show. outside, the lines to see that show, to see ralphie and his one christmas wish. the same one peter billingsley had all those years ago, as ralphie, in a family that struck a christmas chord. >> most people have said, either, that's my dad, that's my mom or that was me. >> and so we choose ralphie, past and present. and david muir will be right here with you all weekend long. "nightline" will be along later. and we say good night with a joyous holiday scene from raleigh, north carolina, abc 11, our abc-owned station in raleigh, sent us a postcard from the annual winter fest, downtown, city plaza. some of the greatest barbecue in the world, i might add. the music, "joy to the world" from dave brubeck. good night.
a church group is the victim of a cruel crime, someone took travel money. tonight their faith is keeping them going. >> tonight the nation's high court agrees to decide same-sex marriage once and for all. >> abc 7 news follows up on a ring of thieves praying on tourists. tonight we can reveal how surveillance helps nab the thief. >> and predicament facing the san jose police department y more officers are elevening then coming on board. >> we're out here... many miles away?ó p from home with o one to contact or ask for help. >> this church group left penniless in florida tonight after robbers make off with all of the cash they brought with them to get by. good evening, everyone, i'm
carolyn johnson. >> oakland certainly has more than its fair share of crime but seems unfair a church youth group from oakland went across country only to be robbed in fort lauderdale, florida. abc 7 news is in the newsroom tonight with the story. what an awful thing to happen. >> yes. it's just heart breaking. locals in south florida were not about to let this church group go out showing them the best that community has to offer. when $12,000 vanished out of their van yesterday, the group was stranded with no way to pay for hotels and food. once it became a news story, floridians came to the rescue. the group of 24 set off yesterday with high hopes for an exciting fulfilling adventure, a trip from oakland to a christian youth conference in fort lauderdale. but within hours after rival, they were crushed to find $12,000 cash, their luggage, and the adult leader passport stolen out of